The infant rooms consist of a group of infants 6 weeks to 18 months old. The infant classrooms follow the primary caregiver system. Each caregiver is responsible for meeting the basic needs of the children assigned to each one of them. The primary caregiver system allows for building a strong bond between caregiver, child and parent. Young infants are learning to trust us and to feel valued and important. In order for this to happen the adults need to respond promptly, consistently, and lovingly to meet their every need. Each interaction between you and the infant will teach them important lessons about other people. Babies learn how to treat others from the way they are treated; we continue to build on the positive experiences that the child has at home.
We now know that language development begins at birth. The part of the brain that is used for language is most receptive in the first few years of a child’s life. The more you talk, listen, sing, repeat chants, and read books, the more language the child will understand. The caregivers in the infant rooms provide an environment where infants can reach out, crawl over, climb in, pull up, and jump. To develop small muscles, the teachers encourage the children to pick up finger food, fill containers, dump them out, stack blocks, etc.
Babies are building an understanding of what the world is all about as they watch, listen, taste, touch, and smell everything around them. We give them the opportunity to explore using their senses. Everyday, as infants explore and play, they collect new information to add to what they already know. Little by little the child understands the world a little better.
The primary caregiver system allows for each caregiver to meet the basic needs of the children assigned to each one of them. This allows for building a strong bond between caregiver, child and parent. Young infants are learning to trust us and feel valued and important.
The rooms consist of a mixed age group of children 18 months to 3 years of age. It is important to recognize that each child is an individual. Some children in our room are new to the center or have just transitioned from one of the infant rooms. For many of them, this is their first time being away from their family. Some children need redirection, some need comfort, and some are so comfortable they wave and are off on their own. They may also be a little afraid of new people and new faces, so please give them time to get used to spending their day with you. They need lots of love and attention and other times they may want to be alone. They do not have a large vocabulary and may have trouble expressing their needs. Toddlers are learning to use their words and not their hands to get what they want. Avoid using no; instead use short explanations giving them consequences of their actions. For example: “That is not safe. That will hurt your friends and they will be sad”. Do not make a child say sorry. Young children repeat, but don’t fully understand what the words mean. So, please be patient because they are learning new words everyday!
Young children need conversations in order to develop their speech. When you are talking and interacting in the classroom, you need to be down at the children’s level, not standing above them. You are twice the size of a toddler, wouldn’t you be intimidated? When down at their level, ask open ended questions (questions that require more than just a “yes” or “no”). For example: “Tell me about your picture” “How does that feel?” Don’t end a conversation with a child’s answer. It is important to model; speak clearly, using simple short sentences.
Independence is important for building confidence and self-esteem. Because of different developmental levels, some children may need assistance with these tasks. Don’t forget to give positive reinforcement when a child accomplishes their goal. They look towards the adults in the room for guidance and assistance, so please be there when they need you!
Young children may feel intimidated and might get lost in a large group. Toddlers function better in a small group. For example, the sensory table is small, allowing for a maximum of four children to play at a time. Art activities are also done in small groups, only two at a time. Sometimes this might be difficult for the children, but it is important for a toddler to learn about patience. In a situation like this, we will redirect them to a different area while they are waiting their turn.
Toddlers often play side by side with other children, not directly with them. Toddlers are just beginning to become aware of other children. They love songs, stories, and music. As the year progresses, they will acquire new words, new ways of expressing themselves, and new skills! Thank you for joining us and we look forward to working together.
There are up to 14 children in our room who range between 3 years to 5 years old. Most of the children in our room have developed a good sense of independence and are comfortable being away from their family. However, like all, some children can have trouble seeing their family leave and be sad. They are verbal and like to talk with children and grown-ups. Children really enjoy talking about friends, families and themselves. They work together as a team to get things accomplished, like cleaning the classroom or completing a project or activity. They share and take turns, which is not always an easy thing to do. Sometimes they can become frustrated by having to share or wait for a turn, so please be patient if they become frustrated. They will work through it. Preschoolers are, for the most part, independent and like to do things on their own. The children serve their own meals, pour their own drinks, and clean up after they are done. Sometimes they need help from a grown up and will let you know when they need you. Most of them use the bathroom by themselves and remember to wash their hands when they are done. They love to learn new things; they are a busy group soaking in lots of information. They still love to pretend, sing, listen to music, and build with blocks. As the year progresses, the children will learn new words, new ways of expressing their needs, and gain new skills. Thank you for joining us and we look forward to working together!